Tucked away in Storrs, Connecticut, is the campus of the University of Connecticut Huskies. The Huskies made it to the Final Four by beating No. 13 seed Iona, No. 5 seed St. Mary's, No. 8 seed Arkansas and No. 3 seed Gonzaga. Here are five things you should know about the UConn men's basketball team.
1. Absolute Dominance
UConn has basically breezed through March Madness, winning every game by double digits. Against Gonzaga, who many thought had a chance to sneak out of the West Region into the Final Four, the Huskies won by almost 30 points. It has won by an average of 22.5 points. Throughout the entire season, UConn has won by 15 points or more 19 times. The Huskies have been extremely dominating in the second half especially, outscoring opponents 174-107. They are one of only two teams in the nation ranked in the Top 12 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Out of the remaining four teams, they are the clear betting favorite to win the national championship
2. Dan Hurley
As a head coach, this is Hurley's first time in the Final Four. Hurley became the head coach of the UConn Huskies before the start of the 2018-19 season. With the Huskies, he has a .650 winning percentage, going 102-55. Overall, he currently has 253 wins as a head coach, coaching at Rhode Island and Wagner prior to his current tenure at UConn. This is the third straight season Hurley has led the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament. The previous two years, the Huskies were bounced in the first round.
3. Big Talent from the Big East
The Huskies easily have the best talent overall left in the tournament. Junior forward Adama Sanogo is a menace underneath the basket. During the tournament, he is averaging almost a double-double with 20 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while shooting 66% from the field. No player left in the tournament has more points than Sanogo. Sanogo led the Big East in scoring this season with 17.1 points per game. When Sanogo scores more than 20-plus points in a game, the Huskies are undefeated, with a 19-0 record. Sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins is a threat from beyond the arc. Over the last two games, he has 44 points while making nine 3-pointers.
4. Turning It Around At The Right Time
It appears the Huskies are turning it around at the right time. To start the season, UConn went 14-0, winning 13 of those games by double digits. They cruised through the Phil Knight Invitational, winning the championship in their bracket. They shot up all the way to No. 2 in the country. Then over a little less than a month, from New Year's Eve to Jan. 25, UConn went 2-6. Since the end of January, after going through that rough patch, the Huskies have gone 13-2, losing by a combined total of only 5 points in those two defeats. Whatever plagued them at the start of the New Year seems to have gone away.
Three of the players on the University of Connecticut men's basketball team — Sanogo, Hassan Diarra and Samson Johnson — are observing Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year for Muslims. During the entire month, which began the evening of March 22 and ends the evening of April 20, participants of Ramadan fast from sunrise to sunset. This means no food and no water. Sunset on April 1 in Houston is scheduled for around nine minutes before tipoff between UConn and Miami. In the game against Gonzaga, Sanogo, Diarra and Johnson had to fast until about halftime. The team's training staff had prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit for the players observing Ramadan, as those foods are easier to digest.
The University of Connecticut Huskies take on the University of Miami on Saturday at 8:49 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
MORE: Appreciating Dan Hurley's Long History of Sideline Antics
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